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Urine for a Treat, Swimmers! Study Reveals Alarming Amount of Pee in Pools

I snuggled up to my son last night and told him the good news. “I just booked us a room in a fancy hotel for our mini-vacation!”

His little body wriggled with excitement, and I should have anticipated his response:

“Does it have a pool?!?!”

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It does. And boy am I excited to don a bathing suit, step into the fluorescent lighting and plunge into the waters of an indoor pool.

Ahhh, the hotel pool. Height of sophistication for children, source of dismay for mothers.

But that’s how much I love my kid. And I hope you love his urine, people.

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That’s right. As millions of travellers prepare to head to the swimming pool this summer, a report has emerged that the pools probably contain more pee than expected.

Over a three week period, a whopping eight gallons of urine was found in one pool. Sure, that’s only about .00008 percent of the water, but it’ll make me think twice before licking my lips as I emerge from the hotel pool à la Phoebe Cates.

The study tested the water for an artificial sweetener called acesulfame potassium (Ace-K for short), which doesn’t break down before the body eliminates it. Bottom line, if there’s Ace-K in the water, there’s pee in the water.

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So let’s talk about Ace-K for a minute. I’m a little grossed out about it–and it’s possibly more disturbing to me than the pee in the water. This sweetener is in everything from soda to fro-yo to breakfast bars, and it’s 200 times sweeter than sugar. It’s believed to be carcinogenic and the Center for Science in the Public Interest says the FDA needs to require further testing or withdraw its approval of Ace-K altogether.

I know you didn’t click on this for a chemistry lesson, but researching this sweetener took me down a rabbit hole that has ended with me throwing out more than a few items from my pantry.

Now back to the pee.

One in five American adults admits to urinating in public pools, according to a Public Water and Health Council Study. Adults. That means it’s not just babies and toddlers having accidents. People who are fully potty trained are doing it, too.

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Seriously, people. Stop peeing in the pool. I guess I’m naive, but I had no idea that grown-ass adults were doing this. Were you not shamed enough as children? Do you have no concern for your fellow human? Are you disgusting?

(Yes. You are.)

Watch your back, people.

I’m still going to splash around in the pool with my kid, because I know that a miniscule amount of pee isn’t going to hurt us, and that we probably are awash in other people’s bodily fluids all the time and don’t know it.

What troubles me most about this news isn’t the pee itself, but the fact that seemingly regular people feel so comfortable doing it right next to me.

I’m looking at you, Michael Phelps.